Prepublication indesem â€˜09 Supplement of Volume #19 March 2009
indesem ‘09 Point of View 2
Colophon Pre-publication of indesem ‘09 As a supplement to VOLUME #19 indesem ‘09 - Point Of View Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture
Julianalaan 134, BG-WEST-130 2628 BL Delft
T +31 15 2783693
Editorial board: Leonie Welling, editor
Bart van der Hooft, co-editor Tije Vlam, grafic design
Eric Philippa, grafic support
Text by the indesem ‘09 crew: Nina Aalbers
Bart van der Hooft Šejla Lagumdžija Sven van Oosten
Rosa Robbertsen Jasper Schaap
Esther Verhoek Leonie Welling
Contributors: Theo Deutinger
Machiel van Dorst Simon Droog
Serge Schoemaker Marlies Rohmer Oliver Thill
Peter Veenstra Paul de Vries
English copy editor: Wendy van Os - Thompson
Special thanks to: Machiel van Dorst
Deborah Hauptmann Michiel Riedijk
In producing this indesem publication, we have used a small number of images and texts for which copywright holders
could not be identified. In such cases, it has been our assumption that these images belong to the public domain. If you
claim ownership of any of the images or texts presented here,
and have not been properly identified, please contact indesem 2009.
Delft, Maart 2009
indesem ‘09 partners & sponsors: Stichting Archis
Drukkerij Dijkman Offset, Diemen Aanmelder.nl
Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture Stichting indesem Stylos
indesem ‘09: Point of View
In the broad field of architecture, many facets can lead the designer away from his focus. To bring the concerns of the user into the focus of architectural design, human experience is the central theme for this publication. It describes the importance and possibilities of the users’ perception in architecture.
The profession of the architect has existed since the times of Ancient Greece, though that was not what it was termed in those days. The history of architecture since then describes the context in which the architectural profession became what we know today: architects as generalists who combine all the relevant disciplines. Architects are also one of the few actors in the building process who are capable of ensuring the quality for the users in architecture. Instead of creating highly finished visual presentations, the architect should be more focused on the user as a key-figure in the design process. If architects wish to highlight the perception of the user, they should acquire knowledge of the many, diverse, subjective views on this theme and the wealth of sensory perception, taking these as a source of inspiration. Architecture entails more than just visual perception; all senses together provide the total spatial experience.
Various architects and professionals originating from other disciplines, who relate in a different way to the user, offer inspiration for addressing the theme of human experience. The architect Herman Hertzberger gave his views on this subject in an interview. In addition, Machiel van Dorst, Marlies Rohmer, Robin Kerssen, Serge Schoemaker, Theo Deutinger and Oliver Thill have offered their opinions. If we wish to explore possibilities in research and design for use in architecture, industrial design offers useful parallels. Simon Droog and Paul de Vries examined this comparable discipline, searching for useful design methods in architecture. “… to be an architect, you should become aware of the world around you. You have to use your eyes and ears, use all your senses. …” Herman Hertzberger in the interview, reported on page 8 of this publication.
Indesem ’09 draws forward the possibilities of the users’ perception in architecture. We hope to inspire every reader of this publication, to open their eyes and use all their senses in their designs, as well as in their daily lives.
A personal note by the organizing committee
From 7 to 15 May 2009, the whole faculty of architecture of the TU Delft will be dominated by the event of indesem ’09 - ´Point of View´. This year, we will focus on the role of the architect in the experience of the user. During the indesem week, students from the Netherlands and abroad will participate in a workshop. This workshop is supported by excursions, as well as lectures and debates which anyone who is interested may attend. Indesem was initiated in 1962 by Wiek Röling, in collaboration with Jaap Bakema. The seminar was tutored by Team X and the lecturers included Aldo van Eijk and Herman Herzberger. Herman Hertzberger organised the seminar again in 1985, as a tribute to the retiring Aldo van Eijk. Since then, every two years a new group of architecture students from the TU Delft bring together an international group, known as indesem, which stands for International Design Seminar. This year, we have the honour of continuing the indesem tradition. Indesem gives us the chance to elaborate on a theme of our own choice; one which we think might enhance the existing curriculum. With this prepublication we would like to introduce the theme of indesem ’09 - ‘Point of View’. Each member of the organising committee has addressed a different subject relating to the theme. These articles reflect what indesem ’09 stands for, and what we think, for this edition, should be everyone’s focus. Our special thanks go out to Machiel van Dorst as our supporting teacher, Michiel Riedijk for his advice in the contents of the seminar, and Deborah Hauptmann for her contribution. We also like to thank Herman Hertzberger for his great inspiration to us, and Arjen Oosterman for his support and the good cooperation.
We would like to hear your views on our theme and publication, so feel free to contact us, or submit a reaction at our forum on the website: www.indesem.nl. Enjoy reading!
Nina, Bart, Šejla, Sven, Rosa, Jasper, Esther and Leonie
Hearing, feeling, seeing, smelling architecture Esther Verhoek & Šejla Lagumdžija Metrostation 7:26 PM Here I am. There have been four stops since the Central Station and I hear the doors of the metro closing behind me, a penetrating smell of sweaty air overwhelms me. In the meantime the noise of the metro fades out into the tunnel and an-
other train is arriving on the other side of the platform. Without thinking I follow the crowd towards the exit. Wherever that may be! The escalator handrail feels sticky and warm, and at the end a breath of fresh air tells me I’m nearly outside. Stepping off the escalator I stumble.
Wooden stairs are my next obstacle in this crowded place. Coming down the steps, I’ve been pushed by someone and I tread with my left shoe in a puddle on the street that I hadn’t notice. It has just been raining and the smell of wet streets gets to me, although the temperature is very pleasant. It’s around 7.30 pm and the sun has already set. The cars are passing by on my left and people are walking and talking on my right. I think I’m at the right place; the surroundings seem familiar from the last time I was here.
She told me I will reach a square in the city centre with a busy road on my right. So far I think I’m on the right way. I remember I had to cross the square and walk into a street full of shops and restaurants. The smell of orange trees overwhelms me. Several times on my way I’ve had to stop for a waiter asking me if I wanted to have dinner in their restaurant. It took a while before I passed the busy part of the street. I could smell that I was approaching the river which I have to cross.
Finally, having reached the top of the stairs, I start to run towards the fresh air. In a hurry I get off the escalator through the throng of people. It’s a foggy day and I can barely see what is on the other side of this small square, other than a deserted basketball field. Next to the green boards must be the place for the bus stops: a few people are waiting there as well. A bit faster, I run towards the bus stop and almost sprain my ankle on some loose tiles. I take a short cut through some bushes filled with singing tomtits. As I expected, I see the number 9 bus driving away through an underpass towards the northern part of the city. I just came up on the left-hand flight of steps, then I turned right - the busy road on the other side of the square must be the main street going to the city centre. So the business district must be somewhere in the opposite direction. Behind one of the grey facades in the distance my new employer is waiting for me. I start to walk towards the hills of grey facades, hoping to find it soon. Metrostation 7:26 PM The doors slide open once the subway has stopped at the white platform. I try to get to the exit by following the crowd, but a wheel of my suitcase has got stuck between the train and the platform. I try to get it out, but the waiting people are losing their patience. Luckily, a little boy with an odd smell coming out of his rucksack, helps me and I manage to get the case out safely. The floor of the platform is very smooth; the case rolls along easily. I step on the escalator. On my way up, a man gives me a dirty look because he can’t pass by. He doesn’t really notice anything that’s happening around him and just focuses on his cell phone. In the dark corridor leading to the exit, I see the man with the cell phone running by. In his hurry, he accidentally gives a blind man a slight push. That causes him to step into a puddle, which of course he did not see. Without noticing, the other man runs further onto the square. Finally I’m outside and the first thing I notice, is the smell of the orange trees. Three weeks ago I left this place and now here I am again. Nothing has changed since. Two tomtits flew out of an orange tree onto a bench next to an old lady who was watching other people passing by. The day I left she said goodbye and now she is welcoming me again with her hoarse voice. Luckily it has just stopped raining. I still have a 15-minute walk before I’m home, and my feet are already hurting. Oops, I never noticed a step here before. Struggling with my suitcase I try to walk further towards the opposite corner of the square. It makes a repeated ticking sound on the little paving stones. I pay attention at every step I take, not wanting to get stuck between the tiles with my high heels. At that very moment, the street lights flash on. It’s almost as if they were pointing out my way home. Images: Esther Verhoek
Metrostation 7:26 PM The loud warning signal of the subway sounds, and I see a little kid with a huge rucksack pass the doors just before they close. As the subway train leaves the platform, I feel the warm dusty wind circulating in the station. Next to the escalator a saxophonist is playing ‘Uptown up’. I recognized the song immediately. I must hurry, the bus can leave any minute now. An elderly couple reaches the escalator just before me. “Excuse me!” as I pass. .
Another lady, with a suitcase and several bags, is blocking my way. This time it’s impossible to pass. I reach for my phone to ring up the security agency to say I will be late. Ah, no answer. Great, this is my first day at work, I have never been in this neighbourhood before and I don’t know how to reach the office on foot if I miss the number 9 bus. I can already hear the sound of all the traffic. The smell of hamburgers turns my stomach as I still stand behind the woman with the suitcase.
Lynch, K. (1997) The image of the city, Cambridge, MIT Press Zardini, M. (2005) Sense of the city: an alternate approach to urbanism, Montreal, Canadian Centre for Architecture
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 3
Point of View interviews
Esther Verhoek & Šejla Lagumdžija
To introduce our theme, we interviewed architects who are involved with indesem ‘09. They were asked to choose 3 questions out of 9 and they had to answer those briefly. On every page of this publication, one of the several outcomes is to be found.
Theo Deutinger How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
The question itself contains two attributes that determine very much the thinking of our time: young and new. These two words share the very seducing undertone of ‘good’. Maybe because they scare us with the same antonym: old. Yet, it is simply wrong to assume that the new is better than the old, and beauty is better than ugliness. Such thinking is pure marketing. Without old there is no new and without ugliness there can’t be beauty. So personally I believe it would be groundbreaking for architects if they could just loosen up and not immediately be scared off by the old and ugly.
If everything is realizable, what then is the challenge of making architecture?
Everything was always realisable because we have always been doing it. Architecture is not responsible to ‘everything’, but to society. Since we are on the way to a global society, cultural differences are loosening up and architects are being asked to design for a larger (ultimate) society. It is our responsibility to manifest this human unification project. And if, in order to achieve this aim, everything would be possible, we wouldn’t have to take everything but we should give everything.
Why do we need architects anyway?
Architects are a cultural luxury; a society must be able to afford them. If all architects were to lose their knowledge/mind overnight, the world would still be the same and only a handful people would notice. The damage would become apparent much later, when people came to realise there were no buildings typifying that particular period of time.
Do we need other design methods to communicate about spatial experience?
We constantly need to improve design methods to catch up with our senses, while we need to challenge our senses with the spaces we design.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 4
The profession of the architect:
A historical review Leonie Welling
The profession of the architect can be considered as one of the oldest in the world. Although it lasted aeons before it established itself as a recognised profession, even back in the ancient world of Greece and Egypt craftsmanship was involved in the building process. The function the building has to serve, the cultural environment, the patron, rules and regulations, involvement of government and church, all these decisive factors have continually changed through the course of history. Along with this continually changing context, the building process changed, as well as the range of duties of the architect. This article will provide a short historical overview of the general development of the architect’s profession in Western Europe.
The designation ‘architect’ did not exist until the 16th century. The word came from the ancient Greece (άρχιτέκτων), originally meaning ‘chief craftsman’. In medieval times a variant appeared in Latin as ‘architectus’, but it was not until 1563 that the term ‘architect’ was printed for the first time in English.1 Ancient Greece In the 5th century BC, in which the beautification of Athens took place, the professional status of the architect would seem to have become generally recognised. Architects originated from other professions, combining various crafts. The architect’s work incorporated that of sculptor, engineer, contractor and even town-planner. The Greek architect Pytheos already stated: “An architect ought to be able to accomplish much more in all the arts and sciences then the men who, by their own particular kinds of work and the practice of it, have brought each single subject to the highest perfection”. The aesthetic refinements of masterpieces of this period, like the Parthenon, show us that architects of the day had completed long studies and mastered substantial mathematical, scientific and artistic knowledge.1 The Roman Empire Thanks to Vitruvius’ treatises, we are somewhat better informed about the architect’s activities and duties in Roman days. He stated, with reference to the curriculum for the architectural student: “Let him be educated, skilful with the pencil, instructed in geometry, know much history, have followed philosophers with attention, understand music, have some knowledge of medicine, know the opinions of the jurists, and be acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens.”1 In this respect many parallels can be found with the current education: geometry, drawing skills and history are obvious, ‘knowledge of medicine’ can now be equated with architectural hygiene, ‘opinions of jurists’ represent architectural law, and philosophy is needed for the architect not to be self-absorbed, to be able to design from an other perspective. The scope of the architect’s duties in Roman times appears to have been wide; it included town-planning, civil structures and military engineering. The architect acted as director and paymaster of all the building craftsmen in all trades, and of course, as a designer of buildings, which had to comply with legal regulations. Architecture was seen as a liberal profession. Consequently competitive tenders were sometimes invited, government architects were stationed at site to supervise and architects received an honorarium, not wages. Neither architects nor builders were responsible for defects in buildings which had been passed by the officials.1 The Middle Ages In the Middle Ages, the Classical concept of the architect as presented by Vitruvius faded. It no longer had the status of a recognised profession, causing the term architectus to disap-
pear. Instead, the term master-builder emerged. For Vitruvius, the theoretical aspects of the profession and a thorough grounding in the liberal arts were as important as an expert knowledge of building technology. The medieval master-builder, however, did not have an educational background. He rose directly from the ranks of the building crafts. He took part in the actual building process alongside the building crew as one of their own.
The dependence on project drawings –Vitruvius’ ichnographia (plan), orthographia (elevation) and scaenographia (perspective) – was abandoned by medieval master-builders. The ground plan was directly conceived in the master-builder’s head; he would go to the site, and use it as a full scale drawing to lay out the design. By the time constructions became too complicated to handle intuitively, in the 13th century, fullscale detail drawings were engraved on the structure itself.2 With this development the habit of graphic aids revived. Project drawings could be consulted during the actual building process. Also scale models of the building or parts of the building became an often used means of communication. Renaissance Early in the 15th century, the humanists played a decisive role in redefining the functions of an architect. They stimulated the study of Roman remains, and the newly discovered formal vocabulary was applied in contemporary architecture. Inspired by Vitruvius’ treatises, architecture became a ‘science’ again. An architect had to be versed in both theory and praxis. This introduction of a new set of forms based on Classical remains, brought about a new division of labour. The remains of Roman antiquity became means of education. The masterbuilder was no longer sufficiently educated to adequately deal with the task of building with knowledge and understanding. The designer, on the other hand, knew everything about Classical details and proportions, but was ignorant of the practical side of building. Hence, he needed the help of a builder to realise his ideas. The architect would set up his own work force. His immediate staff consisted of a number of master craftsmen whom he would personally hire and pay. Each of these master craftsmen would run their field of activity with their own crew. The architect would be continuously present at site, supervising all activities. Most of the exchanges between architect and master craftsmen took place in person.2
The medieval tradition of model-making continued during the Renaissance. The model was made primarily for the patron, and sometimes for the public – a purpose it still serves. It was also used as a guide for the masons. But already in the 15th century, drawings began to replace models in architectural practice. As building designs became more complex, architects started to produce numerous drawings, all serving their own purpose. Most were working drawings to be consulted by the masons on the job. Full scale drawings of details were still scribed on the actual stonework. In the 16th century, this set of architectural drawings – plan, elevation and section – developed into the main means of communication between the architect and the workmen.
The change in architectural style implied a new conception of architecture. Alberti’s ideal of architectural harmony – the design to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be taken away without spoiling it – required the architect to be responsible for every detail of his building; but, as a designer, he had no essential role in the construction. The acceptance of the Classical theory meant that architecture could not be learned on the job, it had to be studied.2 A natural consequence of this new approach to architecture was an increased emphasis on the designing phase prior to construction. The number and complexity of studies and drawings required before the building process started, now increased. By the 17th century this need was being met by the architectural office, where plans and working drawings were prepared by junior architects.2 Industrial revolution and the beginning of the 20th century At the beginning of the 19th century the training of young architects took place in architectural offices. But in the course of the century it started to change: academy schools were increasing and travel abroad became a more essential part of an architect’s education. In view of all the changes in education, which differed from place to place, educational standards and professional credentials became a prime concern. In 1891 the Society of Architects, formed in 1884 to improve professional standards, introduced formal registration procedures. Traditionally, architects had been associated with the rich and the powerful. Their services were mostly required by state and church, but also by wealthier classes and business concerns such as guilds and corporations.2 This slowly started to change in 19th century, when the industrial revolution developed to its full extent, and governments and large industrial firms would acquire the architects’ services to improve the general everyday environment. Architects started to get more involved in town-planning and providing qualitative environments; ‘domestic architecture’ revived as a reaction to the hideous streets and towns born of industrialism.1 The industrial revolution had offered new materials, techniques and a massive increase of employment. In combination with the agricultural crisis, this brought about rapid urbanisation. A new class society arose. The workmen all tended to live together in rapidly growing slums, in which there was a great shortage of housing and no attention was paid to hygiene. Accordingly, the slums were scourged by epidemics. These problems in housing were seen as a result of industrialisation and rapid urbanisation. The industrial employers and the government saw it as their duty to interfere, in order to ensure good health for the civilians. Some large industrial firms began providing houses for employees and their families, and the government introduced regulations and laws in order to ensure a healthier and better quality everyday environment for the working class. At the transition from the 19th to the 20th century, governments embarked on projects with non-profit housing in order to provide housing for the lowest incomes.3
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 5 Within the context of increasingly rationalised industrial activity, a method-driven, standardised and planned approach to design emerged. Architects started to formulate a new aesthetic order based on rationalised mechanical production. In the early years of the 19th century, the general contractor had already made his appearance. Post World War II During the First and Second World Wars much was destroyed, and little was built due to the lack of financial and constructional resources. At the end of the Second World War, this led to massive building of council estates: the rise of the welfare state. The social and political discontinuities generated a demand for low-cost building and mass production, leading to the rise of an aesthetic based on the machine. Economic advancements and technological breakthroughs offered architects new possibilities for artistic expression. Rationalism and functionalism became increasingly important in the design process; architecture was regarded as creating buildings which fulfilled a purpose rather than building a monument to please the eye. Engineering and scientific management were welcomed, but architects were making it very clear that design had to prevail over technology and building methods. “As long as scientific and technological advances were used in architecture without being absorbed by it, the engineer remained subordinate to and detached from the architect”.4
In this accelerating building process, architects started producing prototypes for housing units, general models for buildings which could be erected in different urban environments. Probably the most famous example of this type of building is the Unité d’Habitation by Le Corbusier. Architects tended to lump together the users of their designs. A design was no longer made for a specific user, but was geared to a general image of the putative user. Even more, architects believed that they, with their architecture, could define how the user should behave in the changing society. Bruno Taut’s book “Modern Architecture” expresses this point of view: ‘The architect ... becomes the creator of an ethical and social character; the people (will) be brought to a better behaviour in their mutual dealings and relationship with each other. Thus architecture becomes the creator of new social observances.’5 This new approach to housing proved unsuccessful. And so, in the 1960s, a new ‘social’ architecture emerged, in which the design paid more attention to the individual user. Unfortunately, this close connection between the user and the design became lost again with the emergence of an accelerating computerized society. Towards a computerised society As the 21st century came closer, technology became increasingly important. The invention of the computer in the 1980s brought about a revolution in the design process in the 1990s. Suddenly it was possible to regenerate architectural drawings easily, and all
kinds of software applications were developed to automate and speed up the design process and communication between various parties. Technological advancements in construction and building technology resulted in almost unlimited possibilities in the realisation of works. At the same time, the technological quality in completed work increased, and governments began systematically introducing strictly formulated quality regulations - relating, for instance, to minimal measurements of spaces, durability of structures, sustainability of materials used, energy efficiency and climate control. Today, designs have become increasingly bound to budgets. And so organisation, planning and cost calculation have become important tasks for the architect. Architecture has become subject to market forces. The architect must act as a mediator in a co-operative process in which clients, investors, users, and technical consultants all take part. The architect is responsible for making a design that satisfies the needs of all parties.
As a mediator, the architect communicates and negotiates – on behalf of other parties – with all involved players, to guarantee quality in all specialised fields. He must, therefore, have some knowledge of all trades, but has no real expert knowledge of any. Although almost all concerned parties are involved in the design process, often the eventual user of the building is not. This is because the patron is usually an authority, and the individual user is still unknown. Although the patron will take the user into consideration, he will always have his own agenda (money). Therefore, it is the architect’s responsibility to be mindful in his design of the user’s interests, since he will not be able to speak for himself. The architectural profession will always adapt itself to the continually changing historical, cultural, social and technical circumstances, which can be seen as both the strength and the weakness of the architectural profession. Literature: 1 Martin S. Briggs, (1974) The architect in history, New York: Da Capo Press p. 3, 11-21, 31, 44-46, 328-380. 2 Spiro Kostoff, (1977) The architect: Chapters in the history of the profession, New York: Oxford University Press. p. 73-75, 124-130, 157, 158, 3. 3 Paul Ekkers, (2002) van volkshuisvesting naar woonbeleid, Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers bv p. 51-60. 4 Sigfried Giedion,  (1967) Space, Time and Architecture: The Growth of a New Tradition, Harvard University Press p. 183 5 Bruno Taut, (1929) Modern architecture, A. & C. Boni p. 48 General literature: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos (1999) Deep planning ou le nouveau rôle de l’architecte, in: L’archtecture d’aujourdhui, mars 1999 Janny Rodermond, (2001) Architecten gaan op onderzoek uit, in: de Architect, januari 2001
Machiel van Dorst How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
Don’t look at icons in architecture and architects, but re-invent your own style, suited to the present time. ‘New ground’ is awareness of the cultural and societal context. This may be global urbanisation, climate change, building as if people mattered, et cetera.
What is your opinion about designing for the user?
Referring to the human scale and sensory perception.Designing for users consists of three stages. First of all: take your client seriously; what is his perspective on reality? It is a starting point of the design process. Secondly: we can’t do this without knowledge of behaviour. That can be found in the literature on architects from the seventies, but more importantly: study environmental psychology. And thirdly: find inspiration in the use of architecture, for example, in the behaviour of children or in cultural diversity.
Which sense, besides the eye, is the most important for perceiving architecture? Please explain why.
The eye can predict the touch of a material or even the smell and taste of the brick you perceive. The eye can even predict the sound of a space. This cognitive process has shortcomings when we address sub-conscious sensory perception. In this field, smell is the most important, because it give us a wide range of impressions we aren’t aware of. So, alongside, visual perception, sound may be the most important, but please design for smell as well. A building without scent isn’t real.
Do we need other design methods to communicate about spatial experience?
The design method will not change, but the communication on the design will. Be aware of the different perceptions of different actors in the design process. So first of all, communication tools in the design process will depend on who you communicate with. For the future inhabitants one may consider a 1:1 scale model. Back to the ‘Blokkenhal’.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 6
Design strategy for useful architecture
Bart van der Hooft
The strategy of an architect is always influenced by his social and cultural background and the architects adapts to the most of his clients’ demands. There are several kinds of strategies and therefore different kinds of buildings with a different vision on architecture. Most of the buildings that reach publicity can be categorized as iconic architecture, and they are often seen as the leading architecture. These icons catch the attention in a lot of city skylines; but are their appearances not overrated and fulfill these buildings their role in satisfying the user? Is the strategy behind these building not too much focused the iconic strategy? According to Deyan Sudjec, ‘political leaders use architecture to seduce, impress and intimidate’1. Today’s architects respond to this strategy by trying to make iconic architecture. Iconic architecture of the past decade received a lot of critique. Iconic architecture is said to be too dominant, only to
“It is the usability that makes the building durable not the iconic value.” have a focus on the visual image. According to Marco Frascari ‘the fashionable practices of many contemporary architects produce architectural bodies without qualities’2.
Did the ancient Egyptian pharaohs intentionally erect iconic buildings or were they just building pyramids? Any of the seven ancient wonders of the world would qualify for the term iconic. An icon is defined in the Oxford dictionary as a representative symbol of a cultural period3. But does the icon contain the content, or is it just the image that shows
the idea? And is the icon only there to impress? Nowadays the computer is being used to make perfect presentations, to fulfill the demand of the client. The emphasis on icons is connected to our glorifying of the image in architecture, politcal leaders and multinational care about the appearance of buildings. The icon exists by means of being the exception and the focus is on the outside. Instead of focus on the
“The computer image has too much become a goal instead of a design tool.” outer image we must focus on durability of the inner usability. Therefore we must focus on the inside of the building. Architects have a major task and they are tempting to build an icon without notion for the future users. It is the usability that makes the building durable not the iconic value. Design Strategy A symptom of iconic architecture is use of the media. Architects are using media to advertise their own product to gain media-attention, and thereby the media is getting a bigger influence on architecture. Architects try to make buildings that seem to be exceptional, or so to say out of the ordinary. The consequence of this development of the so-called iconic architecture is that the most of these shapes cannot be designed without use of computers. Here lies a danger; with architects using media, and focusing on the exceptional, they rely more and more on the computer to produce extraordinary figures. The last years the position of the computer became more and more important in architecture and its education, and the computer skills of students have increased. This is a positive development, speaking of the value of that ICT can have for this discipline, but the computer image has too much become a goal instead of a design tool. Though there are architectural offices who stride against this development, take for example Onix. This is a Dutch architecture office which pays a lot of attention to the user-experience of it’s buildings. Their book ‘Awaiting signification’ (2005) shows a research of the users’ appreciation of their building and in this book they make comments on the computer as a
design means. Onix shows that the user takes an important role in their design strategy. According to Onix ‘Architecture is conceived with the aid of computers nowadays. There is a total transparency of the project on paper, resulting in buildings that are dematerialized as far as possible in order to be just as transparent. Buildings are no longer drawn, but modeled from the outside, as projected transparency. What was preciously conceived in the minds of the designers, with all the ragged edges and deficiencies that this entailed during construction, is now, as it were, already produced in the computer… … when architecture is conceived from within, as it were, and no longer from a single overarching perspective, this has far-reaching consequences for the production and the experience of this architecture. The result is no longer based on representation, but on the performative aspects s of construction’ 4.
Onix has a different design approach as common; they have a focus on the user. But which other design strategies do we have? To answer this question it is important to take a closer look at the literature. The book ‘Styles of architectural designing’ (1995) by Anton P.M. van Bakel shows a research to design strategies. Van Bakel did a thoroughly research on design strategies, and concluded it was very difficult to describe design strategies because of the complexity of the profession. Every architect uses other design methods and the design process can be described as chaotic. The design process is not a linear process; it is a field of constantly changing ideas, visions, concepts and inputs. Van Bakel did an experiment with eleven architects and he distinguished five orientations to draw up his model for design strategies: • • • • •
Site (S) is about site characteristics, such as the building plot, cultural and social environment and historical back ground. Program (P) is about the ingredients and requirements in the design brief, such as budget, time schedule and responsibilities. Concept (C) is about the design concept an archtect develops or uses during the design process. It can be a metaphor of rule system. Other parties (O) is about all parties and people that are somehow related to or responsible for the design process. Domain Knowledge (D) is about the expert knowledge stored in books, magazines but also the Long Term Memory.
All architects were using three of these categories (categories S, P and C) whereas most subjects also used one or both of the other two categories (O and D). Finally the three basic orientation categories (S, P and C) led to the possibility to distinguish six styles of architectural designing (figure A) within a certain shell of communication. For example: The iconic Designing (C-P-S) is a style of designing which refers to exploiting a fixed mental image of what the building should look like.
Photo: Andreas Rueda ©
Figure A. Source: Anton P.M. van Bakel (1995)
“The three new orientations are; the concept, the context and the program. The intersection of these orientations is precisely the field on which we should base the balance of our designs..” The six styles can be represented somewhere in the triangle consisting of the three features ‘S’, ‘P’ and ‘C’. But from the protocol results two more features emerged namely ‘O’ and ‘D’. It was agreed by the architects that these indeed are less important in characterizing the personal strategic designing preferences but nevertheless, they play an important role in a description of the complete process’5.
Van Bakel distinguishes six strategies but none of these strategies has a striking role for the usability. The user is one of the ‘other parties’ which is not considered as an important part of the strategy. The user could also be apart of the ‘Site’ because this orientation contains the social aspects. If the user does not have a striking role in the design, for whom are we building anyway? Therefore a comment on the strategies of Van Bakel can be added to give the user a more important
Figure B. role in the design process. In the diagram we want to change the term ‘Site’ into the ‘Context’, because the context also contains the user. There are three new orientations; the concept, the context and the program. An architect has to find the balance between these three orientations and a good building is a mixture of these elements. Inspired by Van Bakel we made our own diagram, which is shown in figure B. The diagram shows the three orientations, the green zone is the section of these orientations. Precisely that surface is the field on which we should base the balance of our designs. If the perspective and perception of the user is not integrated in the strategy it leads to problems in the usability of the building. A useful experience The research of Van Bakel shows there is not enough attention on the user and the usability of building. According too Van der Voordt and van Wegen ‘a vital function of a building is spatial organization of activity. Designing must have a sound insight into points of departure objectives and wishes of users: their activities, organizational structure and ensuing spatial consequences’ 6. A design strategy with the main focus on the user of buildings is not only solving programmatic problems, it also provides the attention to spatial experience, the used
materials and for instance the acoustic characteristics. For Herman Hertzberger the user is a starting point of his designs, and therefore we interviewed him. According to Hertzberger the public space is the most important space in the city and in buildings. These are the areas where people meet and have their interactions. The public and traffic areas need to be designed for people to meet and interact with each other. This can be done by adding functions to a traffic zone; in that way it becomes an area to stay, instead of a traffic area. ‘Stairs are pre-eminently intermediate elements. The only reason for visiting them is to ascend or descend to somewhere else. They connect levels, subsidiary like bridges to their job of linking, servant, dependant, space-devouring; they are circulation space and not useful floor area or a destination as such, open-ended and not an end. This is why stairs are all too soon ignored or smoothed over and often stashed away in narrow shafts as obligatory means of linking levels without erasing the physical distinction between above and below. Ascending or descending, form one floor to another, you are moving through a space which, constantly perceived from another angle, is sounded out, bringing about what we call a sense of space. So it is important that a stair so traverses a space that, while moving, your view does indeed make that journey a memorable one’ 7. Useful architecture There is not enough attention for the user and the usability in the design process because the design strategy is too much focused on the image. A lot of architects have mediaattention as their main goal and they try to fulfill the clients’ demand by making an icon. Most of the buildings that reach publicity can be categorized as icons. Maybe that is why the focus in the architecture education is also focused on the image. Students have to make a realistic image with the help of computers and therefore the emphasis on the presentation is growing instead of the focus on the content. In contrast with this focus on the image, we can focus on the usability and the experience of the user. It is the usability that makes the design durable and in their strategy, architects should pay attention for the user and his spatial experience. An architect should try to find the balance between the concept, the program and the context. Models and hand-drawings can be better design tools for the task that lies on us: to think about the spatial organization and the spatial experience of its users. They may get us closer to a user’s perspective, and in this way we can empathize in the spatial experience of our own designs. The result is hand made architecture which gives a spatial experience and which will be appreciated by the people. 1 Deyan Sudjic (2005) De macht van het bouwen, p. 8, Amsterdam: Anthos uitgevers 2 Marco Frascari. A tradition of architectural figures: A search for Vita Beata. In Body and Building, essays on the changing relation of body and architecture. Editors: Dodds, George and Tavernor, Robert (2002). p. 259 Cambridge and London: The MIT Press 3 Andree Iffrig (2008), http://architecture.suite101.com/article.cfm/iconic_architecture_redefined 4 Alex van de Beld (2005), Awaiting signification, manifesto for an authentic experience of architecture, Rotterdam: NAi Publishers 5 Anton P.M. van Bakel (1995) Styles of architectural designing, Empirical research on working styles and personality dispositions, p 151-160. Eindhoven: Technical University 6 Theo van der Voordt and Herman van Wegen, Programming for Building. In Ways to Study and research, Urban, architectural and technical design. Editors: Jong, de, T.M. and Voordt, van der, D.J.M. (2005). p 271. Delft: DUP 7 Herman Hertzberger (2000) Space and architect, Lessons in architecture, p 256. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 7
Robin Kerssens How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
It’s obvious that (especially young) architects should make more sustainable and ecological buildings and environments, integrating new materials and new installations, as well as looking for new building methods. But we should not forget that sustainability is more than just an accumulation of techniques. Above all sustainability is about how we feel, how we value our environment and take care of it. So, the aim for young architects should be to combine sensory perception and new techniques.
In which way is sensory perception involved in your design process?
Tranquillity is the binding factor in our design approach. Peace in a building, harmony, a nonmonumental silence. For example; a Gothic cathedral where the height, the measurements and the clear plan create a serene space, or Koen van Velsen’s film academy in Amsterdam, a beacon in the city that, as light changes, appears different every hour. The changing effects are achieved by the strict placement of windows which incorporates and at the same time generates interpretations. These images may not be totally formulated in our minds, yet with a collage of these, we work on our own designs.
Which building designed by you is widely appreciated by its users? Do you know why?
For the European headquarter of the shoe brand Crocs, we designed the interior with a mixture of open and closed office spaces. The openness and lightness of the interior is in keeping with the informal working atmosphere. The appearance of the interior refers to the advertising image of Crocs: colourful shoes shown on a white and light grey background. We took as inspiration the rubber of the Crocs shoe, using various elastic materials, like the polyurethane floor and the extruded PVC mats on the storage units. The office is fresh looking and is a comfortable working place with a powerful ‘Crocs’ identity.
If everything is realizable, what then is the challenge of making architecture?
The idea that everything is possible is a well-worn cliché adopted by young designers with considerable confidence; not for QBK Architects. The notion that everything can be realised, that every form is in reach of the architect, exerts pressure on us to define accurately what it is we want to facilitate. So we seek specifically what grips us in architecture. We analyse our own designs and the designs of others, looking for matches that surpass the form, and certain qualities that buildings we appreciate have in common.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 8
Esther Verhoek & Šejla Lagumdžija
Photo: Herman van Doorn ©
1 Since 1962 you have been involved in indesem. Could you describe your role in earlier indesem editions? My role was not the same in every indesem. We organised the very first indesem at the time of Aldo’s departure (Aldo van Eyck, ed.). My wife remembered that Aldo always loved to invite foreign guests and students, and that together, they would realise very exciting projects. That is how we came up with the ‘international design seminar’ (indesem). Wiek Röling also played an important role, you should talk to him about it.
2 In the seventies there was a great interest in spatial experience and the user. Why do you think this way of thinking came to an end? Well, there was the CIAM, Congres International d’Architecture Moderne. Then Team X came into the picture. This was the tenth convention, and from that moment on there was a greater emphasis on the aspect of nearby daily life. I do not
use the word human, as architecture - since it cannot be inhuman - has to be human anyway.
In my opinion, Le Corbusier certainly is the architect who started this notion in architecture. Those who are not fond of Le Corbusier, may see Mies van der Rohe as the more important one but his work is certainly more detached, although more generic. The whole idea of a generic space, spaces that are just pure space where you can do anything, is of course a major topic nowadays. For instance, what at one time is a church can be turned into a school the next and perhaps even a supermarket. If you talk about human architecture, you probably mean: architecture that does not only involve people in general, but on a smaller, more nearby scale. Architecture can be detached, but that makes it not necessarily inhuman. The generic is a human side as well. But Le Corbusier was also concerned with small things like the right dimensions of things around us.
3 Could you describe what architects should always keep in mind when they are designing? The basis is to be able to imagine oneself in situations and spaces; you should be familiar with how things work, and that is often quite difficult. For instance, how do you deal
“Really important in every building is to have a main space as a connector of the whole” with unforeseen situations. With more experience you will be better prepared, which may make you a better architect. One is inclined to simply forget their wealth of experience. It is incredibly important to open yourself up to your own
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 9 experience. It should be part of your system to be aware of everything and anything that surrounds you. To put yourself in place of every corner of your building takes time. In that matter, if you are in a rush, you shouldn’t try to read a poem at the same time. At times you have to try to take a moment to get your mind to start working. So to be architect, you should become aware of the world around you. You have to use your eyes and ears, use all your senses. You have to make an effort to experience things around you. I think that is the most important part of being an architect: an architect must be able to read situations and to imagine possible situations, which technically is a matter of empathy. Another important issue: in architecture there are always different interests. Politics interfere before you know it. People connect politics usually with power, but ‘politics’ can also relate to architecture, such as interests, concerns and different ways of thinking and of interpretation. You are constantly in the middle of contradictory forces.
4 How can students train their ability to empathize with the user?
That is difficult and easy at the same time. Having a great deal of life experience makes it much easier. However, there are complications. To give an example: the last thing on a student’s mind is getting married and supporting a family. However, students are asked to design dwellings for families. How
“Architects are barely trained in empathizing, they usually just play around.” can students imagine themselves in such a situation? Therefore, in my opinion, you should not bother students with that kind of assignments. You can read literature or study floor plans, but that won’t help you gain that level of awareness, that will make empathizing hard. I think it is too difficult. One could say that our profession is too difficult, because you have to see and understand so many things in order to be able to make a good design. Most architects are not concerned with this subject. Sadly this is mostly the result of poor education. I cannot explain in a few words how to learn to empathize; you have to learn it yourself. It depends on your personal input. Women are the first who developed social feelings. It is a feminine characteristic. Women are able to empathize with others, due to evolution. A woman has to know why her child is crying, Men should know that too, but they don’t; they have books to explain 28 possible causes of a crying child. That’s why I think architecture is a discipline for women, except for the fact that women don’t want to organize, although that is changing nowadays. I think it is an amazing development that at the moment over 50 per cent of architecture students in Delft are women.
5 What do you think of the globalization of architecture? As an European architect it is possible to design dwellings in every other country. Is it difficult for us to design a dwelling in China for instance? It’s not true that a Chinese person needs different stairs than a Moroccan one. That is something anatomical, that’s what we’ve become by evolution. Looking at a view can mean something different to a Chinese person than to us, but I don’t assume they will want to do without any view. This is a well-known subject of discussion in which I have frequently been involved. I don’t think that one should be too conscious
of people’s differences but look similarities between people instead. Alvaro Siza, a respected and competent architect, had to design dwellings in The Hague for Moroccan people. He came up with unique floor plans for them , as well as an unusual order of living room and kitchen, which is not a good idea, if you ask me. A dwelling is, in the first place, a dwelling. Designing a floor plan means that a Chinese person should be just as satisfied with it as a Moroccan or a Dutch person. Some floor plans just aren’t right! In the worst-case scenario there is a route from the bedroom to the bathroom through the hallway, that’s the very worst I can imagine. Imagine a child waiting for his parents’ guests to leave, because he has to go to the toilet, that’s terrible.
“Architecture cannot be inhuman” 6 Do architects make a lot of mistakes? Well, I think so. But you are asking me to give a complete architectural course in five minutes. You have to be able to combine the floor plans and the sections into a combined image. If you are not capable of doing this, you have to learn it and if you can’t learn it, then you won’t become a good architect. This is something you have to be capable of. It’s like playing the piano, the right and the left hand have to be coordinated, but work separately too. Something which is really important in every building is to have a main space as a connector of the whole, as a space horizon, a kind of main “structure” where the other spaces are connected on. You have to have a primary order in your mind.
7 Can you name an architect that uses empathy to make a design?
I think that, overall, architects are not good at empathizing. Doctors are much better at that. Architects are barely trained in this area, they usually just play around. I would say Zumthor is working in quite a sensitive way, but he puts the emphasis more on the materials than on the people. Zumthor is extremely susceptible to materials and tactile matters; maybe he is even overdoing it. For me the organization of space comes first. You must have a notion of differences, but at the same time underline what people have in common. You have to be able to create architecture where everyone feels at home. Architects are extraordinarily bad in empathy.
“You must have a notion of differences, but at the same time underline what people have in common.” 8 What do you think the participants of indesem ‘09 should take into account? Nowadays everything is focused on the question of what architecture actually is and what it is good for. Do we need architects anyway? And I am not talking about the recession. A year ago there was no recession, but of course there was the same question about architecture. Nowadays architecture tries to be a kind of spectacle. Everything is possible and this is supposed to be built in reality. There has to be reasoning besides esthetics and commerce; if you would ask me, everything should have a social reasoning.
Peter Veenstra How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
Our living environments are changing at fast pace: urban expansion, technological innovation, changing politics and culture all manifest themselves into new landscapes. By recognizing, researching and designing new spatial phenomena, young architects can contribute to the knowledge base of our surroundings. In this way, new design challenges can be recognized at an early stage and creative solutions can be proposed. This approach can lead to a synergy between design and research: more thorough designs and applicable researches.
What is your opinion about designing for the user? Referring to the human scale and sensory perception?
In my work at Lola landscape architects I am working mainly on public space under urban influence. A great deal of public space is designed to relax, meet people and experience nature. The actual use and appreciation of these places by people in many cases turns out to be much lower than intended by their creators. One reason is the monotony of the appearance of public space. In the last decades architects tried to break this monotony in a visual way, but this is not enough. In this perspective, much could be learned from garden art, in which design for all senses has a long history.
Which sense, besides the eye, is the most important for perceiving architecture? Please explain why?
Besides the eyes, people depend on their ears the most, often without noticing. Hearing is crucial for communication, orientation and recognizing danger. In today’s visual culture, people have ill-trained ears, sending much of the received aural information directly into the subconscious. This is one of the reasons that the sound of the city gets very little attention by designers and planners. Compared to the visual city, the aural city still remains at a wild-west stage. In terms of noise, this causes lots of stress and heart diseases; in terms of experience, a lot can be gained by synchronizing the image and sound of places.
In which way is sensory perception involved in your design process?
We never make a design without visiting the project site, and documenting it with pictures, videos, sound recordings and interviews. The aural perception of space has caught our attention especially, and therefore we are experimenting with working together with sound artists at the earliest stage of the design process. In order to expand our ‘sonic toolbox’ in the design phase, we started a research project in collaboration with sound art collective Staalplaat Soundsystem, called Composed City.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 10
Products make sense
An interdisciplinary scope
Sven van Oosten
Supportive content: Rosa Robbertsen
For more than a decade, research on sensory perception and human emotion has been increasing with a view to contributing to a more human-centred design process in the field of product design. In that respect, this field could serve as a good model for architecture.
Let us first to clarify the concepts of sensory perception and human emotion. Sensory perception is about the way buildings or products are perceived through different sensory modalities, such as vision, touch and olfaction. These modalities are stimulated by various sensory stimuli such as sounds, colours and smells. Together with other types of stimuli, products and buildings are thus able to elicit certain emotions. It is worth noting that the emotional reaction to the stimuli is individual, mostly subjective and therefore a complex field of research. According to Pieter Desmet “a special case of research on emotions is the topic of Aesthetic emotions, i.e. emotions elicited through a stimulation of our senses by things like work of art or natural landscapes” 1
“the task of industrial designers has changed, becoming more focused on sensory perception of - and emotional response to products” Comparing two different fields of design
Hendrik N.J. Schifferstein and Charles Spence make an interesting conclusion on multi-sensory design, after a comparison on the role of different sensory modalities in product experience and emotion, in their article entitled Multisensory Design: “Studies on sensory perception take a particular role in the research on product experience and emotion. All of the human senses contribute to how a product is experienced and are, therefore, important to consider in the design process. Insight into the roles that the different senses play in people’s interactions with products can help designers to choose the optimum sensory channel by which to communicate a certain message to the consumer” 2 Now, if we were to replace the word product by building/architecture, and the word consumer by visitor/occupant, this statement would be very pertinent to architecture.
If we wish to interpret Schifferstein’s and Spece’s article on multi-sensory design as having relevance to architecture, we must stress that the different fields of design are, in fact, closely related. Yet we should be aware that there is a distinction between products and buildings, and that sensory perception does play an important, though a different, part in the fields of design we are comparing.
Increasing significance in the design practice
The significance of human emotion, sensory perception and product experience in the field of product design, results from markets with growing numbers of products and increasing competition. According to Desmet: “Nowadays it is often difficult to distinguish products on the basics of their technological functioning or quality” 1 Consequently, producers feel the need to brand their product and differentiate it from the rest. But we must also take into account the risks involved with mass-production and the considerable influence of the end-user. Therefore the task of industrial designers has changed, becoming more focused on sensory perception of and emotional response to - products.
Photo: András Pfaff ©
In architecture, the end-user has little influence. However, architects are highly conscious of the competition amongst themselves. Accordingly, various architects have succeeded in making their mark, for example by employing particular materialisation (Frank O. Gehry) or by creating distinctive construction types (Santiago Calatrava). But, only few have declared themselves openly in favour of a more human-centred design approach, by way of greater understanding of sensory perception and human emotions.
In architecture scant attention is generally paid to sensory perception, although vision is all important in this field. According to Schifferstein and Spence this modality is a key factor in product design. “..The dominant role of vision and, to a lesser extent, touch is likely to be mainly limited to the functional user-product interaction and to the conscious experience of that interaction. The other sensory modalities may nevertheless still play important roles in terms of modulating the emotional experiences that are evoked by products” 2 Studies on cross modal correspondences, interactions and sensory (in)congruity, show that products are experienced with several senses and different channels of the senses do in fact interact. (Hendrik N.J. Schifferstein and Charles Spence, 2004).
Communication on sensory perception
marketing research (“what people say”), applied anthropology (“what people do”) and participatory design (“what people make”). When all three perspectives are explored simultaneously, we can understand the experience domains of the people we are serving through design”3 So these methods give the designer insight in the concerns of the user, enabling him, in the words of Schifferstein and Spence to “choose the optimum sensory channel”2 for his design. Note that this example of Stappens and Sanders is only one out of many tools and methods that are produced in the field of research on human-centred product design and that all these different studies are far too detailed for further elaboration in this article. In the end, it is up to the architect to see that the variety of methods and tools in the field of product design can be of good use. And furthermore it is up to the architect to make use of these methods and assimilate them into his own domain and design process. The article ’Emotion in Architecture‘ in this publication is of good example. An interdisciplinary approach, throughout the indesem workshop, can contribute to our objective to enhance the debates on architecture as a multi-sensory design discipline.
Compared with the industrial designer, whose knowledge on the senses can easily be put into practice using models and prototypes, the architect has a more difficult task. His communication tools are limited when it comes to passing on ideas of sensory perception. Drawings and computer renderings are merely visual, while the model can give slight tactile information. In architecture it is practically impossible to make a 1:1 scale model, although it is a good way for a product designer to explore the possibilities for the user’s experience of a product. A prototype in architecture would be the (unique) final result of the design, whereas in product development -larger-scale production will follow. At this stage, drawings and renderings determine how we judge architecture even before it is built. But when architecture is created, all senses should be taken in account. Indesem sees the challenge to really communicate on sensory experience, with existing or revised tools.
“it is up to the architect
As yet we have only considered the significance of (multi-) sensory perception in experience- and emotion-driven design. In addition, we need to create useful methods and design tools to actually adapt this approach in a human-centred design process for architecture. According to Pieter Jan Stappens and Elizabeth Sanders “Designers need insight in the diverse contexts surrounding a product’s use” 3 In the domain of product design, generative and evaluative tools have been formed to contribute to the design process. For example: “In the design development process, generative methods such as collaging can be used together with other methods in a converging perspectives approach (Sanders, 2000) that draws simultaneously from three perspectives:
1. P. M. A. Desmet, (2002) Designing emotion. Introduction xiv, ix 2. H. N. J. Schifferstein and C. Spence, (2008) Multisensory product experience. In: H. N .J. Schifferstein and P. Hekkert, (2008) Product experience, p. 137,151,152 Amsterdam: Elsevier 3. P. J. Stappers and E.B.N. Sanders (2004) Generative tools for context mapping: tuning the tools In: D. McDonagh, P. Hekkert, J. van Erp and D. Gyi (2004). Design and emotion: the experience of everyday things. p 77 London: Taylor and Francis
Creating useful methods for architectural design
to see that the variety of methods and tools in the field of product design can be of good use”
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 11
Visit to Visio
A school for the blind and visually handicapped
On the February 12th, the committee of indesem ’09 visited Visio, a school for blind and visually handicapped children. Frits Grevink, the school’s director, welcomed us and told us about the school and what it means to be blind or visually handicapped.
Blind and visually handicapped children can attend normal schools, but need adapted teaching materials. Visio is an organisation that provides such teaching materials. This special Visio-school has been built for children with a motor dysfunction or physical disability besides their visual handicap. Here 85 pupils receive the intensive support they need. The school was purpose-designed by Mecanoo in 2001-2004. A visually handicapped person has greater difficulties distinguishing the space around him. These children have less than 5% vision, which means that some can only see little clear dots while others can only distinguish large objects. Therefore at Visio transitions between spaces and boundaries of spaces are accentuated by contrasting colours and differing materials. The difference between the wooden floor in the central hall and the linoleum floor in the corridors is clearly perceivable with various senses. The transitions between these different floors and the stairs are marked by black signalising mats. The floors are framed by black strips that emphasise the distinction between wall and floor. The ceilings and walls are also materialised differently: the ceiling is made completely of wood, which clarifies the borders of the spaces and improves the acoustics in the whole building. In other words, large contrasts have been used in a very consistent way here.
The basic assumption for the design was the need to adapt the building to the handicap of the children, and at the same time to simulate real life. Visio wants to teach children to pay attention to small things, thus enabling them to take care of themselves in the outside world. The most important requirement has been easy orientation in the building. That is why the school has a logical organisation: the H-shaped floor plan has a main hall in the middle and corridors at both ends. The ground floor contains the classrooms, which are therefore very accessible for the children; and on the first level, functions are situated such as the gym, swimming pool and boardrooms.
Besides that, many signals are placed to guide the children in and around the building. There are no fences around the playgrounds into which children might bump. The whole playground is on a downward slope and so ends logically at the bottom of the slope. The building itself is surrounded by surfaces of gravel, which prevent children from running into the windows. These examples illustrate the attention to detail in this building in order to adapt it to the children and their disabilities. Yet the spaces are very similar to those in real life, to teach children how to deal with the difficulties they encounter when they leave school. This school for the blind demonstrates very clearly the importance of designing for all the senses. We, as sighted people, also appreciated the building’s acoustics, we understood which spaces were private or public and we knew when we had reached the last step of the staircase, because our feet encountered a mat. We perceived the building with all our senses. In fact, every building should be designed like that. The pictures show the interior of Visio seen by sighted people and by two different visual handicaped persons. The second picture shows the world seen in large objects and the third picture shows the world seen trough a clear dot. images: Esther Verhoek
Marlies Rohmer photo: Marina Habsburg Lothringen ©
How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
I would wish young architects integral ALL-ROUND control of the profession. In this respect, an enquiring mind, individual character, fascination, association, dialogue and research are very important.
What is your opinion about designing for the user? With reference to the human scale and sensory perception?
In 1997, our practice (which has been in existence since 1986) received a commission for a discotheque. It was our first design specifically for the younger generation. This was followed by a youth hotel and we soon started accepting commissions to design schools. I started collecting newspaper cuttings, photographs, articles and studies about youth culture and related topics. This collection has grown into a substantial archive of text and images, which eventually provided the basis for this book. With the conviction that the current situation of young people cannot be considered separately from the world that surrounds them, we undertook a wide-ranging analysis of new developments in society, with a special focus on the role children play in it. The research which underlies this book connects our designs for housing and schools within their urban context to a wide range of sociocultural issues. Building for the Next Generation (NAi Publishers, 2007). We show how an understanding of youth culture has helped us elaborate and refine the project requirements, and how these requirements can be transposed into designs and models at various levels. It has been our constant goal to establish a practice of more long-lasting building for young people by pursuing integral solutions for metropolitan problems.
In the context of designing for the user, which architect do you think is inspiring?
As a former employee and student of Rem Koolhaas and Herman Herzberger, I try to draw on the achievements of these two architects. More than anyone, Rem Koolhaas made it clearer to me how daily life and social trends and phenomena can be a source of inspiration to architecture. Both of them spurred me on my personal quest. We have condensed the work of many researchers, theorists and authors into a unique synthesis which formed the basis for the publication of my book Building for the Next Generation (NAi Publishers, 2007). A number of authors have been especially influential in our investigations, namely Arnold Rijndorp, Lia Karsten, Joke van der Zwaard and Paul Scheffer. It is their conclusions that provide our starting point.
Which building that you designed is widely appreciated by its users? Do you know why?
I assume that all users should appreciate our buildings, more than appreciate, even. When the architect leaves, the user annexes the building. Where we end, they will start. Users put their own fingerprint on the project, they use the building to their own satisfaction, and discover possibilities which the architect could not have imagined. As an architect, you cannot anticipate this aspect, but you can leave room for the unexpected. That can be done in various ways, in urbanism or interior, generic (flexibility) or specific (identity). The project ‘Fusion’, a mosque compiler building, is developed in co-operation with ordinary people from, for example, the Rif Mountains in Morocco, and Eastern Turkey. Communication took place with gestures and a lot of humour. Meanwhile the building has been realised. A building which they could be proud of, and in which all their wishes and dreams have been fulfilled. At the same time, the building is a hybrid of the adjacent ‘Amsterdam School’ and Arabic architecture.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 12
Emotion in architecture
How to design atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user? Simon Droog MSc & Paul de Vries MSc
”There was a time when I experienced architecture without thinking about it. Sometimes I can almost feel a particular door handle in my hand, a piece of metal shaped like the back of a spoon. I used to take hold of it when I went into my aunt’s garden. That door handle still seems to me like a special sign of entry into a world of different moods and smells. I remember the sound of the gravel under my feet, the soft gleam of the waxed oak staircase, I can hear the heavy front door closing behind me as I walk along the dark corridor and enter the kitchen, the only really brightly lit room in the house. [...] Memories like these contain the deepest architectural experience that I know. They are the reservoirs of the architectural atmospheres and images which I explore in my work as an architect.”
In addition to the lack of relevant research, the faculty practises a very functional approach to architecture. We were interested in determining the implications of adopting a less functional approach; an approach where the focus lies on architectural atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user.
How can architects design atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user? To answer this question we first need to know what emotions are and how they are elicited. Knowledge of psychology and the extended research which had been done at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering (DUT) into this topic help us to understand how emotions work. This research includes the ‘basic model of emotions’ by Pieter Desmet, which gives insight into the emotional process.1 To be able to use this model, information on architectural concerns and stimuli is needed. This will contribute to the understanding of how emotions are elicited by architecture.
Boredom The vinex design is not stimulating
The need of sensations
ZUMTHOR, P. (2005) Thinking Architecture Vinex housing Architecture can move us, it elicits different emotions. It can bring back memories, but it can also elicit direct emotions, like letting you feel small or big, or giving a safe feeling or an unsafe one. Architecture is sometimes even able to bring us in a spiritual mood. But the same space can make someone feel calm while another person might feel uncomfortable or even unsafe there. Yet most of us feel small in a big Gothic church and unsafe in a dark alley at night. Architectural spaces have certain atmospheres which influence the emotional state of a person: the interaction between the environment and its occupant.
A different approach During our studies at the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology (DUT), we have noticed that there has been hardly any research in the area of emotion in architecture. Even in our education it is rarely a topic of discussion. The lack of attention for this topic led us to graduation lab Explorelab, where we had the opportunity to explore our fascination: experiencing architecture. In the beginning of our research we discovered that at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering research has been carried out in this area for almost a decade now. Prof. Paul Hekkert from the Department of Design Aesthetics at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering confirmed this during one of our regular meetings.
“Architecture can move us, it elicits different emotions.”
“Where he has an unimpeded opportunity to see we can call it a prospect. Where he has an opportunity to hide, a refuge.” 2 To emphasise this, humans have their field of vision to the front (prospect), therefore needing some sort of protection from behind (refuge). The house ‘Can Feliz’ made by Jørn Utzon to some extent illustrates the prospect to refuge concept. Grant Hildebrand says in his book ‘Origins of Architectural Pleasure’: “Here, on the right, an interior refuge has been developed by opaque walls, a lesser floor-to-ceiling dimension, and a low light level. Continuously on the left, a complementary zone of interior prospect has been created by a somewhat greater floor-to-ceiling dimension, walls with extensive transparent surfaces, and a much higher light level”. 3 Explore Traditionally again, we need to search for new sources of food and to protect ourselves from possible threats. (see fig. 3) Thrill Thrill = fear + pleasure Humans need challenges to keep training their skills, or as Veenhoven explains it: “paradise is not liveable”. 4
Architectural means Light, form, colour, sound, movement, texture and smell, are examples of how architects have created certain atmospheres. These atmospheres are the stimuli in Peter Desmet’s basic model of emotions(fig.1), eliciting an emotion that is appraised as either harmful or beneficial to one of our concerns.
New design process To be able to design atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user, a new kind of design process is needed. It consists of two main stages with one additional preliminary stage that only needs to be carried out once.
Photo: Michplay ©
fig. 1 Basic model of emotions
Basic model of emotions The basic model of emotions of Pieter Desmet (fig.1) shows that our concerns are decisive for the kind of emotion that will be elicited. The model describes the eliciting conditions of emotions with the use of three underlying key variables: stimulus, concern and appraisal. A stimulus elicits an emotion when it is appraised as either harmful or beneficial for one of our concerns. So the same building can elicit different emotions because of different concerns. However, there are some basic architectural concerns that all humans share, like the need for prospect and refuge, the need to explore and the need for thrill.
Prospect and refuge Traditionally, we prefer to have a shelter on the edge of a forest, because, in the past, man could hunt in the open fields and woman could search for fruits and plants, and when danger threatened, they could retreat to the shelter protected by the forest. In his book ‘The Experience of landscape’, Jay Appleton refers to the open field as ‘prospect’ and the shelter as ‘the refuge’:
fig. 2 Napes Needle, English lake district
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 13 Finally, the designed architectural atmospheres need to be checked against the basic and specific concerns of the user. To that end, potential users can be shown the design and asked for their feedback. This feedback should then be taken up in the design. This cycle can be repeated until both the architect and the potential user are satisfied. In conclusion, we believe that a different approach to architecture is needed, primarily in view of the functional way in which architecture is practised at the Faculty of Architecture (DUT). Most projects at our former faculty are based on a very conceptual approach: a design method that has often little to do with users’ concerns. This, or a similar design process has enabled us and a few other architects to create architectural atmospheres attuned to the concerns of the user. Hopefully more architects will adopt this method of designing.
For more information or questions please visit our websites: - www.simondroog.nl - www.pauldevries.eu
Literature 1 P. Desmet, (2002) Designing Emotions. Delft: Delft University Press 2 J. Appelton, (1975) The Experience of landscape (p. 73). London: William Clowes & Sons. 3 G. Hildebrand, (1999) Origins of architectural pleasure (p. 30). California: University of California Press. 4 R. Veenhoven, (2000) Leefbaarheid, betekenissen en meetmethoden. M.J. van Dorst, (2005) Een duurzaam leefbare omgeving (p. 86) Delft: Eburon, 2005 As quoted in ZUMTHOR, P. (2006) Thinking Architecture (pp. 7-8). Swiss:
fig. 3 View from side street toward cathedral, Orvieto
Serge Schoemaker How should young architects, according to you, break new ground?
Young designers should be less influenced by all the publications about sensational architecture, which is merely designed with an eye to publicity. In the past decades there has been tremendous media attention for innovative concepts and highprofile visualisations. Because of this, architects tend to forget that the final product is not the publication, but a building with its users. Young architects should concentrate more on the art of building, the workmanship of architecture, mastering materials, space and light.
What is your opinion about designing for the user?
Making architecture is by definition designing for its user. In this regard, architecture differs from the visual arts. A building is not an autonomous object like a sculpture, architecture is always integrated in a social environment and primarily serves a function for a certain user. During the development of an architectural design, the user may never fade into the background. The area of tension between the building as a technical and functional object and architecture as a form of art, is exactly what makes this profession so interesting.
In which way is sensory perception involved in your design process?
“Being aware of the basic
concerns and all the different architectural means can help
architects during their design proces to produce architec-
ture attuned to the concerns of the users. ”
First, we require some general knowledge of the basic concerns to gain insight into those fundamental concerns that are related to architecture. Then, more specific concerns need to be unravelled. This can be done by interviewing potential users and observing how reference projects are used. This step has to be repeated for each project, because each has different users with different concerns. For example, the concerns of users of a meditation centre are very different from those of users of a dwelling project. But even between two different dwelling projects there are users with varying concerns. These concerns need to be satisfied by architectural atmospheres, which themselves can be created by architectural means and thus satisfy the concerns of the user. This stage where the architectural atmospheres are created, is the actual design part of the process.
From the beginning of the design process I focus on the sensorial perception of the user. That’s why I seldom work with abstract concepts or schemes. For me scale models are essential in the design process. By means of scale models I try to gain control of spaces, proportions and light. I also try to incorporate the materialisation directly into my sketch designs. After all, this is what determines the construction, segmentation and character of a design. Are the surfaces dark, light, rough, smooth, coarse, fine, cold or warm? Such perceptions often subconsciously determine how a user experiences a space.
Why do we need architects anyway?
First of all, our society has become so complex, that we also need technically and programmatically complex buildings: hospitals, airports, climate controlled office buildings, et cetera. We need architects to complete these building assignments efficiently and agreeably. And secondly, architects are capable of making people aware of their surroundings. Architecture can affect people by its beauty, innovation and defining spirit of the times. Consequently, architecture has an important cultural role in our society. Architecture can connect, affect, delight, let you forget, or on the contrary, let you remember.
indesem ‘09 Point of View 14
Towards a multisensory perception in architecture
The Visual Image In an increasingly digitalised world, architecture is influenced by the visual and the virtual image. When we see buildings on the internet, we see two dimensional visual representations of what a building is or what the building is supposed to become. We even see buildings that do not exist in reality. Thanks to more visual techniques and more media attention to architecture, architecture itself is adapting to this new situation. Architects are putting even more appealing images on the screen. Whereas in the past you could only judge a finished building ‘in situ’, it is now possible to write your comment on many blogs with the click on the mouse button. That does not do justice to contemporary architecture. Since more criticism relates to the visual aspect of architecture, people look at the visual representation only, instead of seeing the object in real life. This new phenomenon means that architecture has already been judged, based on the digital representation of the object. As architects anticipate this new kind of criticism, architecture – instead of being an object with different layers of experience – is reduced to the single layer of vision. According to Juhani Pallasmaa, “Instead of an existentially grounded plastic and spatial experience, architecture has adopted the psychological strategy of advertising and instant persuasion; buildings have turned into image products detached from existential depth and sincerity”1. As Pallasmaa further explains, we have become spectators instead of participators in our surroundings, looking at a visual image projected on our retina2. As a consequence we feel detached from our surroundings and that could explain why we feel alienated in many contemporary urban environments. In order to stop the alienation of architecture, we must strive towards a higher awareness of multi-sensory perception in contemporary architecture. Perception of Architecture Take for example the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. When you visit this square, you will notice that the space is described by the architecture surrounding it. Moreover, San Marco Square has a certain atmosphere. You will recognize the surroundings as architecture, but it is not only architecture itself that defines the atmosphere of San Marco Square. That atmosphere is also generated by the sound of the tourists and the birds, the feeling of the paving stones, the warmth of the sun and the smell of the sea. Norberg-Schultz states that a place cannot be considered by
In order to stop the alienation of architecture, we must strive towards a higher awareness of multi-sensory perception in contemporary architecture. its visual appearance alone. If we want to define the whole ‘atmosphere’ of place we must, according to Christian Norberg-Schultz, ask ourselves the following questions,: “How is the ground on which we walk, how is the sky above our heads, or in general: how are the boundaries which define the place”3. The surroundings communicate with the human body as you move through the space, feel the texture of the walls with your hands, hear the footsteps echoing through the hallway, feel a cold breeze in your neck or walk towards the light. As you experience a scene like this, it is not only the eye which creates the experience. It is the combination of all the senses together, which creates the ‘atmosphere’ or character of the space.
It is difficult to predict how we will perceive the surroundings, because it is related to our emotions and senses. That is why perception is often seen as something irrational. Empirical research on perception has revealed many theories on how we perceive and experience space. Unlike the applied sciences, there is as yet no general theory about perception. According to Kamiel van Kreij’s thesis, perception of architecture consists of three major concepts: hapticity, kinesthesia and syneasthesia4. Even though they have different names, it is important to see these three concepts together, because they constitute how we perceive our surroundings, but also tell us that none of these three concepts stand alone. I will briefly explain these concepts, because they define a more constructive view on how we ‘as humans’ perceive architecture.
Hapticity Haptic experience refers to experience through touch, but whereas touch has often a two-dimensional character, haptic experience becomes three-dimensional. Or as Gibson clarifies: “ […] the haptic system can yield information about solid objects in three dimensions, whereas touch, in the narrow
Photo: Barbara Rich ©
sense of cutaneous impressions, has been supposed to be capable of yielding information only about patterns on the skin in two dimensions”.5 Often the haptic experience is created through active exploration of the environment using your body. Because movement is involved in this active exploration, a connection exists with kinesthesia. Gibson describes haptic experience as a very complex matter: “The sense of touch in the everyday meaning of the term turns out to be an extremely elaborate and powerful perceptual system but not a sense in either the physiological or the introspective meaning of the term. Nor is it a clearly definable group of senses with just so many nerves and corresponding qualities of sensation”6. Because of this, haptic experience is not explainable in a simple way: you always have to define the hapticity further when discussing haptic experience in design. According to Juhani Pallasmaa, touch is the most primary experience in architecture because the senses of the skin are the mediator between the skin and the world7. Also according to Hegel, touch is the only sense which can give us a feeling of depth, “touch senses weight, resistance, and three-dimensional shape of material bodies and thus makes us aware that
Prepublication Supplement of Volume #19 15 things extend away from us in all directions”7. You can say that hapticity confirms our impression of depth, which we see through our eyes. Kinesthesia Kinesthesia is the exploration of our environment through movement; this can be movement with the eyes, or with our body. Diana Agrest explains Kinesthesia in a broader context: “ Other senses beyond the limits of the visual and the spatial, such as audition and metonymically the entire body through time, rhythm, movement, and speed become relevant as part
“How is the ground on which we walk, how is the sky above our heads, or in general: how are the boundaries which define the place.”
- Christian Norberg-Schultz of representation. Speed, a dimension inseparable now from space-time, is perceived with the entire body and in particular through the vestibular, a sixth sense that, named after the inner ear, accounts for balance, motion sickness, dizziness and vertigo”8. Kinesthesia is not a direct interpretation of our surroundings by the senses, which makes it somewhat difficult to explain. Even though everybody understands it as something with which they are born. Also by active exploration of the environment, a direct relation with touch and movement exists and therefore with hapticity as well. This makes it very important for architecture, because moving through space with the body, or just moving with the eyes makes us experience architecture in a less static way. A good example of kinesthesia in the urban environment is parkour9. This street sport uses the urban environment as its domain. The goal is to get as quickly as possible from one point in the city to another overcoming urban obstacles. If kinesthesia is taken into account in the design process, it is possible to generate architecture, as well as urbanism, as a more multi-layered experience. Like a walk through the forest, stimulating movement of the body.
Syneasthesia Syneasthesia implies a phenomenon that transfers sensory information from one sense to the other. A good example of this concept the way in which we refer to the colour blue as being cold. Syneasthesia is often seen as a combination of all the input from the senses in the mind. Even though it cannot be fully explained by natural science, its existence is not questioned10. Charles E. Osgood defines syneasthesia as follows: “the use of descriptions from one sense modality for sensations from a different one”11. Aristotle saw syneasthesia as the device connecting all the senses together, to create a coherent representation. This device was later known as the ‘sensus communis’12. According to Wolfflin, this association within the mind in relation to sense and sensation, can be seen as, for example, the way you experience lines in woodwork as warm lines and steel engraving as cold lines. Because of earlier experiences with the sensory properties of the material, your memory relates to those properties again by seeing, without touching the object. According to Kamiel van Kreij, in this way the object you perceive does not remain a distant object but enters our physical realm. According to this phenomenon there is a connection possible between phenomenological views on perception and syneasthesia. This is because “the phenomenology of architecture is thus ‘looking at’ architecture from within the consciousness experiencing it”13. The concepts hapticity, kinesthesia and syneasthesia each explain a certain area of theories about sensory perception. Combined, these concepts are the embodiment of a person’s perception what is human in his/her surroundings. However, perception is not a static phenomenon when kinaesthesia is deployed, but also, as we learn from earlier experiences, it
shows that perception is dynamic and can even change over time. “The eyes and ears are not fixed capacity instruments, like cameras and microphones, with which the brain can see and hear. Looking and listening continue to improve with experience. Higher-order variables can still be discovered, even in old age.”14 So in a certain way you can say that we are already influenced by our environment. This is important to know, because in the future the visual might become so important that people lose contact with the real architecture, because of the deprivation of the other senses. Towards Multi-sensory Architecture As a result of the dominance of the visual, architects are less concerned about the other senses when creating architecture. The loss of the ‘sensuous’ in architecture, or sensory deprivation, creates an environment for the future user that seems to be turning increasingly into a non-existent area. How often do we wonder why historic city centres appeal more to us than most contemporary urban areas? If architecture is to be less alienating and autistic, it must become a more sensuous environment for people. “In memorable experiences of architecture, space, matter and time fuse into one singular dimension, into the basic substance of being, that penetrates our consciousness. We identify ourselves with this space, this place, this moment, and these dimensions become ingredients of our very existence. Architecture is the art of reconciliation between ourselves and the world, and this mediation takes place through the senses“15. If architecture played more on the senses, architecture would become less of a flat visual image, as it is today. If we succeed in enticing the senses, people can participate again in their surroundings and regain their identity in the contemporary world.
sensory deprivation creates an environment for the future user that seems to be turning into a non-existent area. 1 Juhani Pallasma (2005), An Architecture of Visual images: The Eyes of the skin, p. 30, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 2 Juhani Pallasma (2005), An Architecture of Visual images: The Eyes of the skin, p. 30, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 3 Christian Norberg Schulz (1996) The Phenomenon of Place in Kate Nessbit, Theorizing a new agenda for architecture: an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995, p. 420, New York:Princeton Architectural Press. 4 Kamiel van Kreij (2008) Sensory intensification in Architecture, p. 25 5 James J Gibson (1968) The senses considered as perceptual systems, p. 102, London: Allen and Unwin. 6 James J Gibson (1968) The senses considered as perceptual systems, p. 135, London: Allen and Unwin. 7 As quoted in; Juhani Pallasma (2005) Multisensory experience: The eyes of the skin, p.42 , Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 8 Diana Agrest (2000) Representation as articulation between theory and practice in Stan Allen, Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation, Amsterdam: G + B Arts International 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour , accessed on 22-022009 10 Gernot Bohme, on Syneashtesia in Daidalos 41, pp26-36 p.31 11 David Canter (1974) Psychology for Architects , p. 76, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 12 Aristotle, De Anima, II, 1-2 13 Juhani Pallasmaa (1996) The Geometry of Feeling: A look at the Phenomenology of Architecture in Kate Nessbitt, Theorizing a new agenda for architecture: an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995 , p. 450, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. 14 James J. Gibson (1968) The Senses considered as Perceptual Systems, p.269 ,London: Allen and Unwin. 15 Juhani Pallasmaa (2005) The Task of Architecture: The eyes of the skin, p. 72 , Chichester: John Wiley & Sons,
Oliver Thill How should young architects, according to you, break new ground? We believe it is very important to start from a personal fascination and a personal view on society. It’s important to ask yourself why you became architect? We advise basing design work on a clear and rational analysis of political, social and economic conditions. If you can understand the history and production conditions of architecture, you are better able to conceptualise your work, while being part of a complicated and often irritating process. If you are able to pinpoint key questions of our time, you might also with your work be able to give general answers with clear values for human society.
What is your opinion about designing for the user? Referring to the human scale and sensory perception. It is big misunderstanding to base architectural design work too much on the user and the programme. The user is the most instable and temporary part in architecture. Functionalist or programmatic design approaches do not work, because buildings no longer function when the programme is changed. Good architecture offers neutral spatial conditions that can be occupied by different users and programmes over the decades in which a building exists. Human scale and sensory perception are the key values to be able to reach venustas. With just utilitas and firmitas there is no architecture at all. We believe that the architecture agenda formulated by the Greek, Roman and Renaissance architects – related to proportion, monumentality and symmetry – is still relevant because human perception has not changed much.
In which way is sensory perception involved in your design process? What we try to reach is a quality called ‘specific neutrality’. That means first creating a neutral spatial basis that can be used in different ways: a spatial quality that is open to interpretation and invites(unknown) users to occupy the space. However, the space should not be neutral in terms of human perception, but offer an inspiring ‘specific’ atmosphere that triggers human senses and creates the atmosphere of a ‘place’. We have a certain interest in two types of spaces: on the one hand, the visual open box where the relationship with the exterior is an important part of the sensory experience, on the other hand the hermetic monumental hall where the dialogue between the size of the human body and the scale of the space creates spatial sensations.
If everything is realizable, what then is the challenge of making architecture? In theory everything would seem to be realisable, but in practice we are facing very limited conditions, if you compare the present situation to budgets available in past centuries. Especially spatial monumentality – the most important key issue of architecture – is nowadays hard to achieve because it requires substantial financial investments. The challenge of today is to create, with limited resources, spaces with monumental dimensions. Spaces that invite people to stay and not to escape (as is so often the case). Spaces that stimulate a fascinating dialogue between the human body and the architecture and the outside world. Spaces where people feel happy and can learn something about what is essential for the human life.
90â€˜ mesedni noitacilbuperP 91# emuloV fo tnemelppuS 9002 hcraM
Laura de Bonth & Dirk Verhagen
Theo Deutinger Simon Droog & Paul de Vries
writer and freelance architect
Jan Jongert 2012 Architects
Gemma Koppen Kopvol Architects
Serge Schoemaker Architects
Wiel Arets Architects
Dick van Gameren
Dick van Gameren Architecten
HH architects and urban designers
Professor of Form Theory, the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, DUT
Neutelings Riedijk Architects
Christian de Portzamparc*
Christian de Portzamparc architecte urbaniste
Architectenbureau Marlies Rohmer
Cloud 9 architects, Spain
Takahuru and Yui Tezuka
Tezuka Architects, Japan
Mei. Architects and urbanists
* To be confirmed
All the lectures are open to the public More information and the up-dated program can be found at our website www.indesem.nl Part of the lectures are organized in cooperation with the organization of Capita Selecta, Stylos and Building for Bouwkunde.